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4.0 out of 5 stars Destination 5 Still Alive (but only just)., 5 May 2012
This review is from: Final Destination 5 [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
One of the best horrors of 2000 stuck two fingers up to the fashion-heavy slasher genre, while proving sequels can be a worthwhile additions to a worthy story with space to fill, but that story is now steadily ticking its way to an essential end here (we hope and wish), yet the likelihood of such would equate commercial Hollywood horror with a brain. Plus as any horror fan knows, the liberty of the word 'final' in a title emblazons the very essence of duplicity. Therefore, once accepting that the makers will never accept the word 'cut' and the rigidity of the initially fresh-as-lavender formula's wearing close to the bone, it's amazing to uncover that, for the most part, this film gets the enjoyment and involvement balance almost level with the first three, with the suspense factor necessarily lower in some places, lazier in others, but then as this a fifth showcase of the same round-robin of escaping death punishment, that's an impressive strike rate for the Reaper, with a few surprises in tow, even if by now there's sadly no tenous, shadowy hint of him at all, but Tony Todd as his apparent scribe does return, making this film feel even more a necessary appendage.

The fourth instalment was utterly useless, repetitive, reeked of a bargain bin too good for it, so the first shock delivered is how the cinematic quality has returned; the cheeky opening as heart-thumpingly wince-inducing as Parts 1-3 first unveiled. Characters are worthwhile again, and the FX pinnacle height quality. The movie speeds along, hoping anticipatory appetites of the reaping dissipate familiarity of death's registration order and rather contrived episodes to isolate the next lamb. This doesn't work fully, nor should it, but you can forgive that unavoidable abrasion, not so the direly tiresome way marked souls keep getting left alone in eye operation rooms/massage booths/dentist chairs/hair salons etc. This just wouldn't happen, qualified professionals would not walk out on clients they were working on, nevermind if they were panicky! There'd be lawsuits everwhere. A few stray lines like 'it's the same old thing' don't help much either, nor does the knowledge that the first two leads are safe till the end, and especially not one really weak death scene that reaps (sorry) of a far better one in 'FD2'-I won't elaborate here, but you'll know when it's upon you.

Yet minutes after this clumsy rehash, comes a startling shake-up of the old format-we are told by Tony Todd that if someone else outside those legible dies, death will skip that person altogether, but only if they bring it about! It gives birth to a few surprising scenes, before winding up an actual time-wasting tease, but it's an exciting one that does fight the fear of sterility in the last half hour, and the end scene is actually almost insolent, not to mention satisfyingly clever, in its general audacity. I'm left with the feeling this 5th (or 4th to be more accurate) actually climaxes even cleverer than it started, something you can't say for 'Scream 4' (another franchise pretending to end years ago, though also much bettering the lousy one before it, but then how hard was that after a gap of over ten years?).

The acting is as tense and impressive as the first three outings, along with sly humour, and best of all, its quality completely shorns the 4th one of its beyond tenous grip to franchise proceedings. I've upped the star rating on a second viewing, as its routine is more welcome than weary, mishaps discounted, as in truth this must be the best film a franchise can pull out this late in the day when it refuses to go gravewards, and lovers of the first three (or even just one) should find you can't be without this, not least as it threatens closure, plus dealing the complete annihilation of listless bore four. That done, can we dare to hope this now commits a extroadinarily long-lived thrill-ride to its resting place? Death surely deserves the rest as much as us and isn't drifting with the angels on a high really not the right way to leave, especially after such a previously lousy non-entry into the series? The extras on the disc cover briefly what they need to (interviews, FX, discussions, scene set-ups etc.) as any fan expects, but the 'Circle Of Death' heading accompanying them billows up the nagging doubts department of wordplay. After all, what has no end...?
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